« السابقةمتابعة »
I trow, threw this whale, with so many tuns of oil in his belly, ashore at Windsor ? How shall I be reveng'd on him? I think, the best way were to entertain him with hope, 'till the wicked fire of lust have melted him in his own grease.—Did you ever hear the like?
Mrs. Page. Letter for letter, but that the name of Page and Ford differs !—To thy great comfort in this mystery of ill opinions, here's the twin-brother of thy letter: but let thine inherit first; for, I protest, mine never shall. I warrant, he hath a thousand of these letters, writ with blank space for different names, (sure more) and these are of the second edition: He will print them out of doubt; for he cares not what he puts into the 8 press, when he would put us two. I had rather be a giantess, and lie under mount Pelion. Well, I will find you twenty lascivious turtles, ere one chaste man.
Mrs. Ford. Why, this is the very same; the very hand, the very words : What doth he think of us?
Mrs. Page. Nay, I know not: It makes me almost ready to wrangle with inine own honesty. I'll entertain myself like one that I am not acquainted withal; for, fure, unless he knew 'some strain in
6 Greene Sleeves is worn away,
“ But white sleeves is my delight." Mention of the same tune is made again in the fourth act of this play. STEEVENS.
press, -] Press is used ambiguously, for a press to print, and a press to squeeze. JOHNSON.
9 fome strain in me, -— ] Thus the old copies. The mo. dern editors read, “ some stain in me,” but, I think, unnecellarily. A similar expression occurs in The Winter's Tale :
" With what encounter so uncurrent, have I
“ Strain'd to appear thus?" And again in Timon :
a noble nature " May catch a wrench," STEEVENS.
me, that I know not myself, he would never have boarded me in this fury.
Mrs. Ford. Boarding, call you it? I'll be sure to keep him above deck.
Mrs. Page. So will I; if he come under my hatches, I'll never to sea again. Let's be reveng'd on him : let's appoint him a meeting ; give him a show of comfort in his suit; and lead him on with a fine baited delay, till he hath pawn’d his horses to mine Host of the Garter.
Mrs. Ford. Nay, I will consent to act any villainy against him, that may not fully the chariness of our honesty! Oh, that my husband saw this letter * ! it would give eternal food to his jealousy.
Mrs. Page. Why, look, where he comes; and my good man too: he's as far from jealousy, as I am from giving him caufe ; and that, I hope, is an unmeafurable distance.
Mrs. Ford. You are the happier woman.
Mrs. Page. Let's consult together against this greasy knight : Come hither.
[They retire. Enter Ford with Pifol, Page with Nym. Ford, Well, I hope, it be not so.
Pift. Hope is a ? curtail-dog in some affairs : Sir John affects thy wife,
Ford. ' - the chariness of our honesty.) i.e. the caution which ought to attend on it. STEEVENS..
? Oh, that my husband saw this letter!] Surely Mrs. Ford does not wish to excite the jealousy, of which she complains. I think we should read-Oh, if my husband, &c. and thus the copy, 1619: “ Oh lord, if my husband should see the letter! i' faith, this would even give edge to his jealousie." STEEVENS.
3-curtail-dog-] That is, a dog that misses his game. The tail is counted necessary to the agility of a greyhound; and one method of disqualifying a dog, according to the forest laws, is to cut his tail, or make him a curtail. JOHNSON. This allusion is common to the old writers. So in Mucedorus: " I will not be made a curtail for no man's pleasure,”. S 3
Ford. Why, Sir, my wife is not young.
Ford, Love my wife ?
Pift, With liver burning hot : Prevent, or go thou, Like Sir Actæon he, with Ring-wood at thy heels:O, odious is the name !
Ford. What naine, Sir ?
Pift. The horn, I say : Farewel. . Take heed; have open eye; for thieves do foot by
night: Take heed, ere summer comes, or 6 cuckoo-birds do
sing:Away, fir corporal Nym.
A curtail-dog was the dog of an unqualify'd person, whose tail, by the laws of the forest, was cut off. So, in the Unknown Shepherd's complaint, in England's Helicon, 1614: “ My curtail-dog, that wont to have plaide,” &c.
STEEVENS. 4 gally-maufry;] i. e. A medley. So in the Winter's Tale : “ They have a dance, which the wenches fay is a galli, maufry of gambols.” Pistol ludicrously uses it for a woman. Thus, in A Woman never vex'd, 1632 : .“ Let us show ourselves gallants or galli-maufries."
STEEVENS. s- Ford, perpend.] This is perhaps a ridicule on a passage in the old comedy of Cambyses :
" My Tapient words I say perpend.” Again:
" My queen perpend what I pronounce." Shakespeare has put the same word into the mouth of Polonius,
STEEVENS. 6 - cuckoo-birds do fing, - ] Such is the reading of the folio, and the quarto 1630. The quartos 1602, and 1619 readwhen cuckoo-birds appear. The modern editors when cuckoabirds affright. For this last reading I find no authority.
STEEVENS. 7 Away, fir corporal Nym. —
· Believe it, Page; he speaks sense. (Exit Pistol.
Ford. I will be patient; I will find out this.
Nym. [Speaking to Page.) And this is true ; I like not the humour of lying. He hath wrong'd me in some humours : I should have borne the humour'd letter to her ; but I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necefsity. He loves your wife; there's the short and the long. My name is corporal Nym; I speak, and I avouch. Tis true:-my name is Nym, and Falstaff loves your wife.–Adicu! I love not the humour of bread and cheese; and there's the humour of it. Adieu.
. [Exit Nym.
Believe it, Page; he speaks sense.] Nym, I believe, is out of place, and we thould read thus :
Away, fir corporal.
Perhaps Dr. Johnson is mistaken in his conjecture. He seems not to have been aware of the manner in which the author meant this scene should be represented. Ford and Pistol, Page and Nym, enter in pairs, each pair in separate conversation ; and while Pistol is informing Ford of Falstaft's design upon his wife, Nyin is, during that time, talking aside to Page, and giving information of the like plot against him. When Pistol has finished, he calls out to Nym to come away; but seeing that he and Page are still in close debate, he goes off alone, first assuring Page, he may depend on the truth of Nym's story. Believe it, Page. Nym then proceeds to tell the remainder of his tale out aloud. And this is true &c.--- A little further on in this scene, Ford says to Page, You beard what this knave (i. e. Pistol) told me. Page replies, res, and you heard what the other (i. e. Nym) told me. STEEVENS.
8 I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necesity. -He loves your wife ; &c.] This absurd paffage may be pointed into sense. I have a sword, and it shall bite upon my necesitv, he loves your wife, &c. Having said his favord should bite, he stops Thort, as was fitting: for he meant that it shouid bite upon the highrvay. And then turns to the subject of his conference, and swears, by his necessity, that Falstaff loved his wife.
WARBURTON. I do not see the difficulty of this passage: no phrase is more common than you may, upon a need, thus. Nym, to gain credit, says, that he is above the mean office of carrying love-let. ters; he has nobler means of living; he has a livord, and upon his neceMily, that is, when his need drives him to unlawful expedients, his tword Mall bite. JOHNSON.
Page. Page. 9 The humour of it, quoth a'! here's a fellow frights humour out of its wits.
Ford. I will seek out Falstaff.
Page. I never heard such a drawling, affecting rogue.
Ford. If I do find it, well.
9 The humour of it, - ] The following epigram, taken from an old collection without date, but apparently printed before the year 1600, will beit account for Nym's frequent repetition of the word humour, Epig. 27.
Ake HUMORS What a feather he doth weare,
It is a veine, for senceless humour's fake. STEEVENS. ! I will not believe such a Cataian, -] Mr. Theobald has here a pleasant note, as usual." This is a piece of fatire that did not want its force at the time of this play's appearing; though the history on which it is grounded is become obsolete,” And then tells a long story of Martin Frobisher attempting the northwest paffage, and bringing home a black stone, as he thought, full of gold ore: that it proved not so, and that therefore Cataians and Frobilhers became by-words for vain boasters. The whole is an idle dream. · All the mystery of the term Calaian, for a liar, is